We say “Home, sweet home.” and “My home is my castle”. Home is the center of family life and the ultimate refuge from the elements, strangers and the world. We perceive home as the place of ultimate safety.
Sadly, most of our homes aren’t as safe as we believe. The building materials, paints, synthetic floor coverings, pressed wood cabinets, etc. exude fumes that pollute the indoor air we, our family and pets are inhaling. If you find the opening statement shocking, most fire victims today don’t succumb to the fire itself; they die from toxic fumes’ inhalation. I’m tempted to say that the worst offenders are houses built in the 1940’s or 50’s (led paint!) but that wouldn’t be true. Toxic building materials are in popular use today, too: just think of the recent laminate flooring “scandal”.
That’s not the whole story, yet. Conventionally built homes aren’t healthy for their inhabitants; they are also destructive to the ecosystem. Traditional energy sources continue to deplete precious natural resources and further contribute to pollution and water contamination. Ever-growing demand for building materials – and today, natural building materials such as stone and wood – calls for more exploitation of natural environment.
Steps have been taken to reduce the indoor pollution caused by toxic building materials. Low VOC paints contain fewer chemicals than conventional paints and dry causing less indoor air pollution. Popularization of solar panels, better water management, all of these help reduce the negative impact our homes have on human health and the environment. Is it enough? In a word: no. (Check the statistics on asthma, allergies and other environment-related conditions. Their numbers continue rising.)
Out of the demand for healthy, environmentally-conscious homes arose a brand new industry: homes designed specifically to be health-promoting and environmentally-responsible.
One of the pioneers of the emerging industry is California’s own Living Homes (http://www.livinghomes.net). Living Homes is the builder of the first LEED Platinum home (The Leed standards set by the US Green Building Council grade projects on their design, safety of building materials used, water and energy efficiency. Platinum is the highest standard a project can be awarded.) and has eleven more Living Homes in production destined for the prestigious LEED Platinum designation.
Even though similar attempts have been made in the past, most of them were intended solely for consumers with very deep pockets. By prefabricating the homes, Living Homes managed to make healthy homes more affordable. The company and its CEO, Mr. Steve Glenn believes that good health and sustainable planet are a right not a privilege: their price range reflects it.
What are Living Homes?
Designed by top architects, Living Homes are prefabricated from non-toxic building materials that are also environmentally-sustainable. The homes are available in standard as well as customizable designs and have drastically smaller ecological impact than conventional homes.
Living Homes’ newly completed six, cutting-edge design, single family homes in Atwater Village include LEED Platinum certified level environmental program and healthy building materials.
With an eye on health and environment the homes have energy-saving appliances and are solar-ready. Many materials used in construction and the interior are reclaimed. To preserve water there are low-flow fixtures and a system in place for grey water reuse. To ensure clean indoor air, the new Living Homes in Atwater Village are free of formaldehyde and VOC paint.
Living Homes has teamed up with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation (http://makeitright.org/) in raising funds and developing health-supporting, environmentally sustainable homes in underserved communities across the country, most notably in New Orleans, Newark, NJ, Kansas City, MO and on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Recently introduced line of low-cost C6 Living Homes series developed in collaboration with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation is also based on LEED® Platinum level environmental program and Cradle-to-Cradle CM inspired materials. (Cradle-to-Cradle CM is an environmental certification program that awards products developed without toxic chemicals the highest standard ratings.)
Not surprisingly, Living Homes are loved by their owners. They have also earned numerous awards, most recently:
March 16, 2016
Make It Right LivingHome – Architizer A+ Awards
September 15, 2015
Make It Right LivingHome – 2015 Builder Design Awards
October 22, 2015
Our LivingHome RK7.2 received LEED Gold in Canada!
LivingHomes RK1 named one of “The World’s Coolest Prefab Houses.”
The LivingHome, Newport Beach wins two 2009 Green Dot Awards; 1st place for Design and 2nd place for Build.
The first LivingHome wins Eco-Structure’s 2009 Evergreen Award in the “Greenhouse” category.
We and our homes should coexist with natural environment, not exploit it. By combining state-of-the-art design (nothing like the McMansion!) with a commitment to human health and environmental sustainability, Living Homes brings the concept of harmonious coexistence with Nature within our reach.
Written by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Business Reporter, Jason Berberyan